After a highly productive 2018 season there were high expectations for Purdue linebacker Markus Bailey in 2019, but unfortunately a knee injury ended his senior campaign after only two games.
What Bailey Brings to the Bengals
Zone Coverage: Bailey is excellent in zone coverage. It is not just his athleticism, but his ability to read the quarterback and react to his indicators. As a result, Bailey had six interceptions in three full seasons as a starter.
Physical Abilities: I said above that it was not just his athleticism that makes him good in coverage. Bailey can move, and he also shows the strength to disengage from tackles and bring down ball carriers.
Intelligence: Bailey demonstrates a strong understanding of the game and his role within the defense. He makes quick reads and gets to where he needs to be.
Why the Bengals drafted Bailey
Up Side: Bailey is an excellent player and if healthy, there is no way he would have lasted to the 7th Round. If he can return to his previous form, he could be a massive steal.
Insurance: Both Bailey and fourth-round selection Akeem Davis-Gaither are coming off of injuries. Drafting both hedges the team’s bet that at least one of them will be healthy and able to compete in 2020.
Depth: The Bengals came into this draft with no depth at linebacker and came out of it with substantial depth at the position. This is huge because in recent years injuries have forced them to put some players on the field who were not up to snuff.